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Lighter. Comfortable. Proportional. A brand new person. Overwhelmingly grateful.

That’s how Erin describes herself now, six months after her breast reduction surgery with Dr. Sharma. The procedure was two decades in the making. For years, she put other things first — her education, her career, her family — while her neck and shoulder pain worsened and her attempts to relieve it grew increasingly futile.

Finally, in 2019, Erin decided it was time. She came to Dr. Sharma to discuss her options and underwent surgery in early 2020. It was worth the wait.

The Route to Recovery

Erin’s surgery day went smoothly, but her recovery got off to a rocky start. She spent the first hours after the procedure feeling intensely nauseous, a side effect of the anesthesia. Dr. Sharma and his nurse, Sarah, quickly assessed the situation and developed a plan to help Erin feel more comfortable.

“The anesthesia wrecked me. I was so nauseated. Dr. Sharma’s handling of that was super helpful. He also recognized some additional things going on in my system that were affecting my reaction to the anesthesia. With his and Sarah’s recommendations, I felt much better 48 hours post-op.”

The next hurdle to conquer was the surgical drains. Erin knew that drains would be an important part of the breast reduction recovery process — they help prevent fluid build-up during healing — but she hadn’t looked forward to dealing with them.

“I’m squeamish, so I had a hard time with the drains. My husband had to empty them for me for a few days because I couldn’t handle it. But eventually I got to where I could do it, after the anesthesia was fully out of my system. It felt so good to get the drains out — I felt like a brand new person.”

The Reveal

Although the anesthesia and the drains were challenges, other aspects of Erin’s recovery were a pleasant surprise.

“I was never in much pain. I was off my prescription pain meds 24 hours post-op and would just take ibuprofen when needed. I remember being really cheerful. I wouldn’t consider it a super painful surgery to recover from. It was actually easier than I was bracing myself for.”

Erin knew she was in good hands as she healed. Her mother came into town to help with childcare and her husband remained a constant source of support and encouragement. At Plastic Surgery Austin, she had a team of carers ready to assist with anything she needed.

“If I had any questions, I emailed Sarah and she would get back to me very promptly. It was nice to know that I could always reach out to them if there was anything making me feel nervous.”

The most significant moment in Erin’s recovery came from one of the smallest details: tape. She’d taken brief glances at her new figure in the initial days after her surgery, but it wasn’t until a week or two later that she looked properly, and found herself flooded with mixed emotions. She knew she was on the right track, but the body she saw didn’t yet feel like her own.

“It felt almost like a depersonalization — like it wasn’t me. It didn’t feel like my body until they took the tape off. Before, it felt like the tape was holding me together. Part of me kept thinking, ‘If I raise my arms too much, is my skin just going to pop open? If I do too much lifting and sever the internal stitches, is my boob just going to fall off?’ I needed the tape to come off in order to feel like it was all connected, like I was intact. That’s when it first felt like I could say it: ‘This is me now.’”

The New Erin

Erin had set two goals before her surgery: to be proportional and to be out of pain. Today, she says she feels lighter, both physically and emotionally, with a renewed commitment to health and excitement for the possibilities her new body may bring.

“I already feel comfort in terms of the pain being gone. Now if I feel pain, I know I just need to adjust my posture or take a deep breath and it goes away. And I can just go to bed at the end of the day — I’m not trying to figure out how to lay down and not be in pain all night, waking up constantly. The knowledge that I can just make a small adjustment and the pain will go away — it’s like magic. I can’t get over it.”

Shopping for clothing is a completely different experience. Before, Erin struggled to find clothing that fit her and flattered her figure. She felt self-conscious in clothing that hugged her body and frumpy in clothing that fit loosely. Too often, she found herself needing to buy expensive, high-end items in order to get a fit she was comfortable in. It was financially and emotionally draining.

“Two weeks out from surgery, I was able to get dressed and see that clothes looked the way I wanted them to look. When I see myself in the mirror now, I look like how I see other people looking in their clothes.”

Erin used her physical transformation to transform her life in other ways. Since giving birth to her twin boys seven years ago, she’d had little time left over to attend to her own well-being.

“I was pretty unhealthy. I focused on getting back to how I used to eat and being more active. Since the surgery, it’s a lot easier. My breasts don’t get in the way when I try to move quickly or lift something or run. All that was so I could be more engaged with my boys and have more energy and be able to move around the world with them. That’s been tremendous.”

The Next Journey

Like many breast reduction patients, Erin’s breasts were more than just a part of her body — they’d become part of her identity. She’d spent more than half her life thinking of herself as “the large-breasted woman,” and though she knew she was done being limited by that definition, she didn’t know who she’d be without it.

“Having large breasts was a part of my core identity that I carried with me through all of my key developmental years and my young adulthood and dating and all of that — I’m still having a hard time not seeing myself as ‘the large-breasted woman.’”

Although this part of her journey is a work in progress, Erin knows exactly what she’s working towards.

“For the first time since I was 12, I just want to be comfortable in my own body. I can tell that idea is resonating with me because tears are welling up now. Being comfortable in my body and not totally self-conscious — that’s something I’m looking forward to, but I don’t think I’ve quite gotten there yet. I still wear my shirts just a little baggy so I don’t feel like I’m bringing unwanted attention upon myself. I’m still trying to shed that old part of my identity.”

Erin’s body had worked hard for her and her family. Now that she made the investment in her own health and happiness, she says breast reduction surgery was unequivocally worth it.

“It’s been so rewarding in every way. Mentally and emotionally, it’s been nothing but a positive experience. Dr. Sharma and Sarah did such an incredible, life-renewing service for me, with such expertise, compassion and professionalism. I feel overwhelmingly grateful.”


At Plastic Surgery Austin, we pride ourselves on creating positive, lasting relationships with our patients, and we’re honored when people like Erin choose to share their experiences.

If you can relate to Erin’s story and are ready to discuss your options for breast reduction surgery in Austin, contact us today for a consultation. You can also visit our before-and-after gallery to see photos of some of our breast reduction patients. Dr. Sharma looks forward to becoming part of your journey.


Contact our office to schedule a private consultation with Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, Sanjay K. Sharma, M.D., F.A.C.S.